Dogs Get SAD too, New Research Reveals

Experts have revealed that dogs can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D)

Winter blues hit us all but experts have revealed our DOGS could also be sharing our pain – with some even suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D).

Experts believe less time spent outside or in the sunshine during the winter months means dogs can suffer the same symptoms as humans who have the seasonal condition.

These include an increased appetite, a reluctance to go outside, low mood and lethargy.

Sixty one per cent of UK dog owners said they also see a difference in their pets’ behaviour as the nights draw in – with their canines appearing to be happier during the summer.

Commissioned by natural dog food producer, Forthglade, the research of 2,000 dog owners found 44 per cent have consulted an expert about their pet’s S.A.D. – or considered it.

Canine behaviourist, Nick Jones, said: “The long dark days of winter don’t just take a toll on the two-legged population.

“Our four-legged friends also feel the strain with many exhibiting symptoms that replicate the human condition Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“Lethargy, an increased appetite, irritability and a reluctance to go outside and exercise are typical behaviours exhibited by dogs in the colder months when natural sunlight is at a minimum.

“There are simple steps dog owners can take to help their pets. Taking walks in daylight hours is a must, and good nutrition also plays a very big part.

“Poor diet can be directly linked to lethargy and depression within canines.

“It’s more important than ever during winter months to feed your dog a healthy natural diet – comfort eating in winter is as bad for pets as it is for humans.”

During the summer months, fifty six per cent of dog owners walk their dogs for over 30 minutes on an average day.

However, over the winter period this falls by around half – with less than three in 10 respondents managing a 30 minute-plus walk on a typical day.

More than a third of those surveyed believe their dog’s eating habits change when they are feeling depressed.

And over a third of dog owners think their pet craves comfort food more than usual during the winter period.

Seventy one per cent of respondents said their canines sleep more than usual in the winter.

While other behavioural changes include begging for more food, taking themselves off to a quiet spot in the house alone and wanting to play less than usual.

Of those polled, nearly a quarter said they feed their pet more in the winter than they do during the summer.

While nearly a quarter of dog owners admit to using food and treats to try and improve their pet’s mood.

Gerard Lovell, MD at Forthglade said: “All pet owners want their dogs to be happy, but it seems the winter months can really have a negative impact on our four legged friends.

“Those of us who suffer from winter blues know how important it is to resist junk food and keep our diets healthy, and the same goes for our pets.

“Staying active and eating well – the secrets to winterproofing your dog!”

 

NICK JONES’ TOP TIPS FOR REDUCING S.A.D. IN DOGS:

  • During the week, when your time is limited, try placing your pet’s bed under a skylight or close to a window to help take advantage of what little light there is
  • Nutrition also plays a big part, and poor diet can be directly linked to lethargy and depression within canines
  • Play games inside the home to stimulate the dog, such as ‘find it’ games up the stairs and in rooms, indoor agility or ‘take it and leave it’ games
  • No matter the size or shape, the garden also offers a great outdoor space for your dog to get some natural sunlight
  • Feed your dog a healthy, natural diet with no artificial additives – eating poor quality dog food, or even our leftover food can increase behavioural problems and isn’t good for your dog’s overall health

 

TOP 10 DIFFERENCES IN DOG’S BEHAVIOUR IN THE WINTER COMPARED TO THE SUMMER MONTHS:

  1. They sleep more
  2. They are reluctant to go outside
  3. They are less active than usual
  4. They have less energy/ are lethargic
  5. They eat more food generally
  6. They seem hungrier
  7. They take themselves off to a quiet place in the house
  8. They eat more comfort food/beg for human food more often
  9. They seem sadder than usual
  10. They want to play less than usual

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Animal OBE for ‘life-changing’ Molly

Lucy Watts MBE and her assistance dog Molly with her PDSA Order of Merit medal.

A loyal Spaniel has been awarded the prestigious PDSA Order of Merit – the animal equivalent of the OBE – for outstanding devotion to her disabled owner.

Three-year-old Working Cocker Spaniel, Molly, was honoured by the veterinary charity after being nominated by owner Lucy Watts MBE (23). The award acknowledges the tremendous impact Molly has on Lucy’s life and the unique bond they share.

Molly’s medal was presented at the Watts’ family home in Benfleet, Essex, by PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin, who said: “Lucy and Molly share a very special bond so it was my privilege to meet them both and honour this wonderful relationship with the PDSA Order of Merit.”

Molly’s story

Lucy Watts MBE assistance dog Molly with her PDSA Order of Merit medal.

Owner Lucy suffers with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which, coupled with other health complications, can leave her feeling withdrawn, isolated and unhappy. Lucy’s condition is classed as life-limiting. Prior to Molly’s arrival in her life, she had been struggling to cope with the chronic pain and was bed-bound due to complications.

Molly joined the Watts household as an eight-week-old puppy and immediately lifted Lucy’s spirits. Lucy said: “Molly helped give me something to focus on. Puppies bring so much joy anyway but Molly was like a ray of light for me. She gave me the motivation to get up and out of bed again.”

Before Molly, Lucy recalls that she often felt ignored when out in public.  Now, taking Molly out gives her greater confidence to interact with people and she feels they see past her wheelchair.

Their bond was so strong that when Molly was 10-months-old she began working with Dog Assistance In Disability (Dog A.I.D), who help people with disabilities to train their pet dogs to become Assistance Dogs.

Molly’s skills are now a lifeline to Lucy on a daily basis as she supports with everyday tasks that would otherwise be impossible. She can pick up and fetch items on demand, remove clothing, untie shoe laces, open doors and even helps do with washing.

As well as household tasks, Molly also protects Lucy: she warns if her temperature spikes by licking her hands and arms. The high temperatures are an early sign of septicemia, which is life-threatening, so the warnings give Lucy vital time to seek help. Molly also alerts Lucy when her blood pressure drops, allowing her to lie her wheelchair down to prevent a collapse.

Molly as a puppy

Lucy continued: “Molly is the best companion I could ask for. She seems to instinctively know if I’m in pain or not.  She never tries to jump up for a cuddle if I’m uncomfortable.

“I’m absolutely thrilled she has been awarded the PDSA Order of Merit.  She was never intended as an assistance dog but her devotion to me and her training has never wavered. I would be lost without her.”

The confidence Molly gave Lucy led to her working with charities as an Ambassador and Trustee, which included giving speeches and writing blogs. For this work Lucy was awarded an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours.

Commenting on Molly’s award, PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin said: “PDSA’s Animal Awards Programme celebrates the incredible bond that we share with animals and our latest award is a shining example of that very special relationship. Molly has helped Lucy in so many remarkable ways; she makes a vast difference to her life on a daily basis.  It’s an honour to award the PDSA Order of Merit to such a worthy recipient.”

Molly is the fourth dog and fourteenth animal to receive the PDSA Order of Merit since its institution in June 2014. The Medal is awarded to recognise animals that have shown outstanding acts of devotion and that symbolise the special relationship between animals and humans. For more information about PDSA’s Animal Awards Programme visit www.pdsa.org.uk/medals

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity, treating nearly 500,000 pets a year across its 51 Pet Hospitals. The charity strives to improve all pets’ lives through education, preventive care and emergency treatment. For more information visit www.pdsa.org.uk

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Bald Dog Gets New Coat For Christmas

A dog that was suffering from a horrific skin condition that had left her virtually bald, has made a staggering recovery in RSPCA care and is now looking for a new home.

Today, dog Ivy looks the picture of health, and spends her days bouncing around RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre in Chobham, Surrey. But just two months ago, Ivy’s life was completely different.

She was discovered on 16 October by a local dog warden in Montrose Avenue in Edgeware, London. Thought to be a stray, Ivy’s red raw skin (pictured below) concerned the dog warden so much, he handed her straight to RSPCA Harmsworth Animal Hospital for immediate treatment for mange.

Liz Wood, deputy manager at RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre said: “Ivy is a really affectionate, lively girl who is full of beans, and we are so pleased with how well she has recovered and her beautiful coat that has come through so quickly. She was in such a bad way when she was found, we weren’t even sure what breed she was, but now we think she may be a Samoyed.

“I’m pleased to say Ivy is ready to find a new home. She needs an active home as she’s very bouncy, and though she is very keen to please, she will need someone who can carry on with her training. Ivy’s good with other dogs but we feel that because she is so lively, she’d only be suitable to be rehomed with older children. Whoever rehomes her will be a lucky person – she’s a special dog who has been through quite an ordeal, but has a lot of love to give.”

Ivy’s discovery back in October came within days of the RSPCA’s launch of the ‘Love Animals, Hate Cruelty’ campaign, which aims to bring these issues to the attention of our animal-loving nation and remind people that amongst the celebrations in the build up to the festive season, a huge number of calls are being made to report neglect.

Ivy before

Liz added: “Ivy is sadly one of many neglected animals that our inspectors rescue every single day, and we expect this winter to be yet another tough one with a huge number of calls to our national emergency line about neglect.”

From animals left without shelter or adequate food and water, to those left with painful untreated injuries or illness, statistics show that from October 2015 to January 2016, 45,176 calls were made to the RSPCA about animals suffering due to neglect.

This works out at one call every four minutes about neglect to animals in winter, not to mention the huge number of other calls the charity receives on top of this relating to other issues like abandonment and deliberate acts of cruelty.

To help the RSPCA to continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, and to support the winter Love Animals, Hate Cruelty campaign, please visit:

www.rspca.org.uk/lovehate2016 or text LOVE to 66880 to donate £3.

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Guinness World Record for World’s First ‘Sky-diving Anti-poaching’ Dog

Arrow and Henry Holsthyzen with the Guinness World Record

Arrow, a German Shepherd dog specially trained to combat Africa’s poaching crisis, has been recognized as the world’s first sky-diving anti-poaching dog by Guinness World Records.

Two-year-old Arrow made his maiden jump with handler Henry Holsthyzen of Paramount Group’s Anti-Poaching and K9 Academy based in Rustenburg, South Africa. The jump was executed at the Waterkloof Airforce Base on the outskirts of Pretoria. Arrow was specially selected as a puppy for his temperament and trained to descend from a helicopter by rope, strapped to Holsthyzen, and finally, to skydive.

Arrow is one of nearly 200 other specially bred and trained K9s at the Anti-Poaching and Canine Training Academy run by Paramount Group, the African-based defence and aerospace company that manufactures aircraft, armoured vehicles, naval vessels and UAVs for governments around the world.

Arrow’s entry to the Guinness World Records family comes after much preparation. His skydiving expertise hinges on his close relationship with his handler. Since Arrow was a puppy the two have eaten, slept, and worked together in order to develop the inseparable bond needed to carry out high-pressure anti-poaching tasks together.

Arrow and Henry Holsthyzen skydive

Holsthyzen said: “With my knowledge of Arrow – knowing him, and knowing his personality – it gave me a very good idea of what to expect and he acted accordingly. He’s a natural born skydiver and an adrenaline junkie – I was more scared than he was!

“I jumped out of the helicopter and it was just natural for him to follow me.  I rely on him and in turn he relies on me. I’m willing to go into battle with him because I trust him. Trust forms the basis of our relationship and that enables the handler and the K9 relationship to excel”.

The Paramount Anti-Poaching and K9 Academy is the culmination of six years of active involvement by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation and Paramount Group in anti-poaching initiatives, and is one of the largest of its kind in Africa.

Eric Ichikowitz, Director of the Ichikowitz Family Foundation commented: “In some cases we have to insert the canine into a difficult situation with the poachers or a challenging environment, such as a forest or mountainous regions. The parachute helps engage them quietly.

“At any one stage we have a large number of K9’s at various stages of development enabling us to develop on each K9’s unique capabilities as identified and tracked from infancy through adolescence.  The large pool enables us to select optimal pairings between handlers and dogs, and to experiment with combinations.

 “The training protocols have been developed through experience gained in operational environments, working in close conjunction with a number of National Parks special operations units. The training school is a custom developed anti-poaching facility developed to train anti-poaching rangers into specialised K9 handlers and to engage the handlers in the protocols of working with dogs in a wildlife environment.”

Paramount Anti-Poaching and K9 Academy addresses the ever-increasing need for the training of Conservation Officers in anti-poaching activities, wildlife contraband detection, specialist K9 solutions and Ranger K9 handler training – all of which have proven success rates in combatting and apprehending poachers.

Its solutions include specialised anti-poaching reaction unit training, training of handlers and detection dogs at points of access to game reserves and borders, tracking dogs for field rangers, as well as training special operation dogs like Arrow for rapid deployment teams. Paramount Group’s initiative is a pioneering movement to deploy and react to poaching alerts within a moment’s notice.

The Canine Academy specialises in breeding working Belgian Shepherd Dogs (Malinois) and German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) for anti-poaching, military and police, as well as any other specialised K9 solutions. Their breeding stock is selected from pure working bloodlines. The school also has working Rottweiler and Bloodhounds.

As well as the K9 programme, Paramount Group’s other anti-poaching contributions include the donation of surveillance aircraft and other military equipment to national parks, and the provision of combat training programmes to strengthen the capabilities of counter-poaching units.

The last seven years have seen the elephant population fall by almost a third, and rhino poaching reach epidemic proportions, with around 1200 rhinos being killed in 2014 and 2015 in South Africa alone.[2]

Watch this video of Arrow and Henry Holsthyzen in action:

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Owners to Spend Millions on their Pets This Christmas

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New research released today reveals that almost half of all pet owners will be buying a present for their pet this Christmas, and surprisingly, men are more than twice as likely as women to buy a premium-end gift for their furry friends.

The poll of 3,000 people commissioned by 3D printing experts Arty Lobster, and carried out by Google Consumer Surveys, found that nearly half (48%) of pet owners will buy their pet a Christmas present costing more than £10, more than 25% will spend up to £50 and 11% of those surveyed love their pets so much they are willing to shell out more than £250. An intriguing 1.6% of men and 1.1% of women plan to spend this amount on their animals.

Young people aged 25-34 are most likely of all age groups to buy presents worth more than £250 for their pets with two in ten saying they intend to do so. Across the UK as a whole, the figures mean that almost half a million people (429,300) plan to buy a present worth between £250 and £500 for their pet while just under 350,000 of us will spend £500 or more on our furry best friends this Christmas.

The trend is part of the growing phenomenon of pet ‘humanisation’ where we are increasingly treating our pets like people. Two thirds of animal owners now see their pets as a beloved family member, according to a recent Euromonitor survey. In addition, there is a growing market in accessories for our companion animals, and the UK pet industry is reporting significant year on year growth*.

Each year, pet owners can buy more extravagant and unusual gifts for their pets ranging from pet Advent Calendars to reindeer jumpers. There’s even been a run on exercise equipment for dogs following the launch of this year’s eagerly anticipated Christmas John Lewis advert. The ad shows a Boxer dog enjoying jumping on a trampoline – soon after retailer Pets At Home saw a 300% surge in searches for ‘pet trampolines’.

Lars B Andersen, Founder and MD of Arty Lobster, said: “Our pets give us unconditional love, so it’s not surprising that we want to treat them like other members of the family and want to give them something special at Christmas.”

Lars B Andersen, Founder and MD of Arty Lobster

Lars B Andersen, Founder and MD of Arty Lobster

Lars added: “Our research suggests that we’re spending millions as a nation on our pets with the festive season proving to be a particular time to treat our four-legged best friends.”

The latest estimated figures suggest there are approximately 20 million pet owners in the UK (excluding fish) with 8.5 million dogs and 7.4 million cats, and that one in two households now owns a pet**.

*Britons’ spending on pets surpassed £4.6bn for the first time in 2015, according to Euromonitor data.

**Latest available estimated figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA).

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Pair Of Pigs Get Licence To Trot So They Can Be Taken For A Walk

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A pair of porkers have been given a licence to trot after their owners got a special permit to take them on pig walkies – on a lead.

The Kunakuna pigs, called Mabel and Betsy, enjoy a stroll down a popular canal path as part of their trotting regime after their owners got special permission for the route.

Staff at the care centre for adults with additional needs, where the duo live, needed the special licence for the monthly outing due to foot and mouth restrictions which classes the walk as ‘transportation’.

Ben Wright regularly takes Mabel and Betsy the Kunekune pigs for walks

Ben Wright regularly takes Mabel and Betsy the Kunekune pigs for walks

Ben Wright, 30, Managing Director at the Waves Centre in Slaithwaite, West Yorks., said:

“We get some double takes from about 50 metres away and people look and expect to see a dog.

“And they get a bit closer and the penny drops – and the dog’s reaction is honestly priceless.

“But it’s great because it introduces Waves to people and the pigs get some exercise too – which they do need.”

Ben added: “From us it is important for our members because they’ve been looked after and cared for all their lives – and it’s nice for them to do the caring themselves.”

The centre only has one harness for Betsy and Mabel so the pair have to take it in turns for a work out – and taking time out to munch on leaves in the process.

It is a special occasion when the two pigs go for the walk – because they only venture out on the expedition about 12 times a year.

Speaking about the idea, Ben added: “We got the pigs two years ago and it was starting to get popular and we settled on the kunakuna pigs because they are miniature compared to the real things.

“But now because they’ve grown so much – we’ve had to make a custom harness due to the fact dog ones are just not big enough.

“We try to take them out for a few monthly outings as a group – but they’ve just grown and outgrown their harnesses.

“We only take the pigs on a relatively short walk, but sometimes that can take up to two hours – it’s all good fun though.”

The duo have a special licence to walk along the towpath – because a walk still classes as ‘transportation’ in official guidelines.

Regulations introduced after the foot and mouth outbreak meant animals with a cloven hoof need a licence to be transported.

Ben added: “We had to submit a route that we will take the pigs on and the society which registers them checked that no other pigs covered that route.”

Betsy and Mabel are firm favourites at the Waves centre, which also boasts an array of animals, including chickens, a chinchilla, guinea pigs, a rabbit, tropical fish, a bearded dragon, a tortoise, a tarantula and lovebirds.

However the pig pair will never be food – but some of the chicken’s eggs are used for food and some are hatched to become chicks.

Ben says using the eggs help members “to understand about the way of life”.

Waves, which has collected 110 members since opening six years ago, has 31 members of staff running the facilities from its base near Huddesfield, West Yorks., all year round.

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Animal Testing Charity To Present Petition To Parliament

Running free: However Beagles are tragically still widely use in clinical trials in UK

Running free: However Beagles are tragically still widely use in clinical trials in UK

Run Free Alliance – the UK’s only registered charity dedicated to the welfare and protection of dogs used in clinical testing – will this Thursday visit Number 10 Downing Street, to present a petition in excess of 135,000 signatures to end the practice of animal use in clinical trials in the UK.

The campaign has already received the backing of Sir David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, as well as a number of high profile individuals from the entertainment sector including actor, Peter Egan, and musician, Sia.

Each year 3,000 to 4,000 Beagles – the animal testing industry’s dog of choice – are experimented on by the pharmaceuticals industry in the UK.

The latest statistics show that 3,241 Beagles were used in 2015 (an increase of 499 compared to statistics for 2014) in 4,346 procedures (an increase of 239 compared to statistics for 2014). Despite the use and subsequent death of these animals, approximately 92% – 96% of all drugs tested fail in human clinical trials.

While the use of animal testing for cosmetics products was abolished in the UK in 1998 (and in the EU in March 2013), toxicity tests prevail – a hangover from an archaic law introduced after the second world war designed to safeguard against the initial testing of scientific products on humans.

As Christine Wynne, Chairman & Founder of the Run Free Alliance explains, the vast majority of the general public is unaware of how this increasingly covert industry operates:

“The important thing to emphasise is that we are not an animal activist group as we do not demonstrate or protest”, said Wynne.

“Additionally we do not use sensationalist images on social media to shock people into response. This is about an archaic law that allows companies to breed and test on beagles throughout laboratories in the UK – an abhorrently outdated practice in an age of animal welfare awareness that is no longer necessary for clinical and toxicity testing, and should have been abolished a long time ago.”

Run Free has been a member of the UK Government Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit stakeholders group since 2011, gaining official charity status in 2015. The organisation is made up of six trustees and 5 management professionals and in addition to celebrity endorsements has the support of globally recognised expert Dr. Andrew Knight, Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics at Winchester University, as its scientific advisor.

The petition, calling on the Government to ‘Abolish the breeding for & use of Beagles for animal experimentation in the UK’ will be presented to Parliament at No. 10 Downing Street at 2pm on Thursday 24th November. From there, the Govt. Petitions Committee will meet to decide whether the petition can be debated in the House of Commons.

The Run Free Alliance was created in 2011 and granted full UK charity status in 2015. It is run by a team of six trustees and five management professionals who do not receive any remuneration for their work from the charity’s fundraising. It exists to promote the welfare, care and future of beagles used for scientific experimentation in the UK, and to provide support to qualified research bodies working on alternative types of scientific testing and research to those involving animals.

For more information visit: www.runfreealliance.com.

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We Will Spend 10.6 Billion on our Dogs in 2017!

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Britain’s owners of 8.5 million dogs spend an estimated £10.6 billion on their pets every year, according to a new report.

The average owner splashes out £1,252 annually on their four-legged friend.

On top of food and vet bills, some devoted owners even pay for ‘pawlates’ – Pilates for dogs.

The study by American Express shows the pooch care boom has triggered a rise in the number of small businesses springing up to cater for the rising demand.

A survey of 1,000 dog owners revealed that six in ten use small independent businesses when shopping for their pets.

Over a quarter said they spend more money on their pets now than they did five years ago.

The research found that, on average, owners spent £393.48 a year on dog food – the biggest single cost.

Other necessary expenditure included insurance (£243.24) and vet bills and medicines (£73.33).

The remaining £541.46 spent on average per pooch went on toys, professional grooming, kennels, clothing and accessories.

Power of the Pooch Pound rises as owners spend £10.64 billion on their pets: Autumn, an afghan hound, chooses between leads shown by Holly Johnson, the Manager of Hair of the Dog, a pet groomers and boutique in Highgate, London.

Power of the Pooch Pound rises as owners spend £10.64 billion on their pets: Autumn, an afghan hound, chooses between leads shown by Holly Johnson, the Manager of Hair of the Dog, a pet groomers and boutique in Highgate, London.

Spend Avg cost:

  • Toys and Treats £183.96
  • Grooming (shampoo, trimming fur massage etc.) £177.84
  • Exercise – dog walkers £122.16
  • Accommodation – kennels or day care £31.17
  • Clothing/Accessories and bedding £26.33

When it comes to birthdays, over a third buy their pup a cake and six in ten get them a gift.

American Express conducted the survey ahead of Small Business Saturday on 3rd December.

Alice Noone, Vice President Marketing at American Express said: “As a champion of small businesses we recognise their importance to the health of the local economy.

“However, this research also highlights the role these small independent shops play in maintaining the health and happiness of our family pets.

“We hope to encourage dog lovers to lend their support and shop small on 3rd December and beyond.”

One of the businesses seeing growth as a result of the boom includes Sudbury Dog Company in Suffolk, which launched in 2012.

Owner Genevieve Parsons said: “We are a family business with the welfare of dogs at heart and we offer a number of services that help dogs to be happy, confident and sociable – from puppy socialisation classes and training to dog birthday parties.

“As a small business, we have the opportunity to be nimble and offer programmes which really make a difference to pets and their owners’ lives – so it’s fantastic to be involved in a campaign which celebrates that.”

Holly Johnson, manager of Hair of the Dog in Highgate, London, said: “One of the benefits of being a small business is that we can talk to our customers on a daily basis, ensuring that we’re constantly up to date with what they need so we can offer the best service and products for happy, healthy pets.

“We’re also able to source unique products which aren’t readily available on the high street, giving local pet owners a reason to come to us.

“As a result, we have a built a very loyal customer base over the years – those who have been with us since launching in 2010 and those who have joined since.”

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Stars Light Up the Red Carpet for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s Annual Collars & Coats Gala Ball

David Gandy with a Battersea pug

David Gandy with a Battersea pug

The world’s most famous animal rescue, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, once again wowed the world last night with the return of its star-studded Collars & Coats Gala Ball at the iconic Battersea Evolution in London.

Craig Revel Horwood

Craig Revel Horwood

Celebrating its eighth successful year, the high-profile event is a highlight of the autumn social calendar, and is consistently regarded as one of the most unique and eagerly anticipated charity events.

The annual charity extravaganza saw a host of UK and international stars take to the red carpet for this worthwhile cause to raise vital funds for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s work in rescuing and re-homing abandoned dogs.

Dr Christian Jessen

Dr Christian Jessen

This year’s star line-up, from the world of TV, music, film, sport and fashion, included: Battersea Ambassadors Dame Jacqueline Wilson and David Gandy, and friends of the Home, Craig Revel Horwood, Dr Christian Jessen, Guy Henry, Danielle Bux, Hilary Alexander, Charles Worthington, Harry Hill and Leah Weller, and the iconic music group Sister Sledge. Guests and stars were welcomed by the popular ‘Battersea Doggie Guard Of Honour’ – a red-carpet parade of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s pooches.

Britain’s Got Talent gymnastics troupe Spellbound opened the glittering event with a breath-taking performance. Battersea ambassadors and supporters including David Gandy, Dr Christian Jessen, Craig Revel Horwood, Guy Henry, and Dame Jacqueline Wilson united on stage to highlight the work and achievements of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

Jilly Johnson

Jilly Johnson

Other highlights of this year’s event included a spectacular performance by headline act Sister Sledge who brought their legendary R’n’B and disco hits to the dance floor. Performing their knockout hits We Are Family, Lost In Music, He’s The Greatest Dancer and Rise and Shine, as well as performing their new single Woman are the Music of the World which has become an anthem for women and girl empowerment, the fabulous trio of Debbie, Kim, and Joni Sledge led the dazzling line up of entertainment.

High profile guests and celebrities also enjoyed the opportunity to bid for an array of money can’t buy experiences at the event’s exclusive auction.

Claire Horton, Battersea’s Chief Executive said: “The Collars & Coats Gala Ball is a truly unique event, celebrating our animals and raising money to care for the 8,000 dogs and cats that come through our gates, abandoned and terrified each year. Once again, we’re thrilled that so many supporters and friends of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home gave so generously of their time to make the event so successful.’’

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The Headline Sponsor of this year’s Collars & Coats Gala Ball was Vitabiotics SuperDog. SuperDog is committed to maintaining health and vitality in dogs, and is from the pet division of pioneering British company Vitabiotics. The Gala’s Champagne Reception was exclusively sponsored by Medivet the Vet with almost 30 years’ experience. Medivet is passionate about providing amazing client and patient care throughout their 141 practices.

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It costs Battersea over £10m to care for its dogs and cats every year, and with no government funding, the Collars & Coats Gala Ball is all about helping to increase awareness of the important work the charity does each and every day of the year to offer a second chance in life to thousands of animals.

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Last year over 8,000 dogs and cats needed Battersea’s care and attention to help find them the best possible new homes.

For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and to pledge donations, please visit www.battersea.org.uk, or call 0207 627 7883.

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Rescue Dog from Northern Ireland is Crowned Britain’s Most Active Pet

Active Pets winner Lily

Active Pets winner Lily

Following a nationwide search for Britain’s most active pet, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lily, who was rescued from a puppy farm in 2014 was chosen from over 140 entries by a judging panel from NOAH, with the help of two guest judges Marie Carter, Editor of Pets Magazine and Sarah Kidby from PetFocus who selected the shortlist.

Lily’s athletic abilities and spirited nature caught the attention of the judges during the competition, which ran as part of the organisation’s Happy, Healthy Pets Project – an online gallery aiming to build the UK’s largest ever picture of pet health. Following its launch in 2015, the Happy Healthy Pets Project now stands at over 2,000 fantastic images of much-loved pets from all over the UK, making it the biggest gallery of its kind and helping put owners in the picture when it comes to pet health by directing them to independent, expert advice on pethealthinfo.org.uk.

Lily’s proud owner Mairead Hughes of Armagh, Northern Ireland says: “I’m absolutely delighted and proud to hear that Lily has won the Active Pets competition. Lily was rescued from a puppy farm in June 2014 at the age of 18 months and I fell for her immediately. She is a joy to have as my companion and loves the outdoors so it’s wonderful that her playful, active nature has been recognised in this way!”

NOAH Chief Executive, Dawn Howard comments: “Judging by the number and quality of entries we’ve received for the competition, it’s not just pet owners who love to keep fit and active, but their pets too. We spotted Lily’s sporty potential straight away and are delighted to name her as our active pets winner. We hope her picture and athletic outlook inspires other pets and owners alike. Helping our pets to get active plays a vital role in their physical and mental wellbeing – all part of the ‘Happy Healthy Pet’ our photo gallery promotes. Whatever your pet’s favourite activity, it’s important that all animals are given an environment where they can live happily and healthily and benefit from the exercise they need. It’s encouraging to see so many pictures of pets in the UK doing just that.”

Marie Carter, Editor of Pets Magazine who shortlisted Lily to win the competition comments: “All of the entries were of such a high standard that it was extremely difficult to choose finalists and an eventual winner. Our winner Lily looks so happy in this photo. She’s running so fast, she’s taken off! Her ears are flying and she’s sporting a huge grin. She must be chasing her owner who has treats, or else a squirrel! Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are wrongly judged as lap dogs but, as this photo proves, they can be very sporting dogs who just so happen to like a nice warm lap too!”

For more information or to submit photos to NOAH’s Happy, Healthy Pets Gallery, simply visit www.pethealthinfo.org.uk.

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